Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research


Effectiveness of RPAH 'Dealing with Food Allergy' education package for schools

by
May Shuen Lim
Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, The University of Sydney
Supervisors: Velencia Soutter, Anne Swain, Robert Loblay, Maine Norberg
October 2001

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Abstract

Introduction:

Food-induced anaphylaxis is the most severe form of food allergy. It can be fatal if prompt emergency treatment is not given. Food allergies and food-induced anaphylaxis are increasing and children while at school are at particular risk.

Aims:

To investigate:

(1)  Teachers attitude and level of knowledge about food allergies.

(2)  Barriers which may impair teachers' ability to deal with food
      anaphylaxis.

(3)  The effectiveness of the educational package on food
      allergy for schools and preschools.

(4)  The most effective way to disseminate the information in the
      educational package.

Methods:

Cross-sectional mailed survey of school teachers from normal education and intensive support school. Data was collected using a written questionnaire, which explored various aspects of teachers' knowledge and attitude towards food-induced anaphylaxis, confidence in managing emergency, legal and social issues.

Results:

There was an increase of 15% for teaching staffs who felt confident in giving emergency treatment and a 10% increase in staffs who felt confident that they can recognize the symptoms of a severe allergy reaction for intervention groups(234). Simply answering the questionnaires had a significant impact on the scores of the control group. A high percentage (98%) in intervention group intended to ask the principal whether a plan and procedures about children with food allergy was available at the schools and pre-schools.

Conclusion:

The educational package was successful in improving teachers' confidence and ability to manage an emergency, and in altering attitudes towards food allergy. Simply answering the questionnaires had an impact even on the scores of the control group. Scores appeared to show obvious improvements for respondents who each received a set of the educational package, which consisted of a video and a food allergy booklet.